Muggery and thuggery

I was in Finsbury Park bus station and saw two boys punching a smaller boy. I stopped by them and gave a teacher come adult look. Dilemma: ” Is it normal play-fighting or something sinister?” And check my back.

I was on the 394 bus from Hoxton Hall, situated in the Hoxton Market which was giving off smells of posh burgers in posher buns, where I’d gone for an “audio tour” not knowing it was a Shoreditch walk like “Mapping Your Manor” pre- Olympic and Paralympic Games when I espied an unusual formation of cyclists riding across the vision of a car. In a moment the passengers were in uproar having witnessed cycle thugs punch a child cyclist so that he fell to the ground. It was a mercy the car behind stopped. The bicycle left behind was retrieved by a passer -by. I don’t know about the child because no-one on my bus spoke English. I got the gist that the car driver saw to the boy.

Then I was on the 48 going to Walthamstow when two slags got on and walked past the driver. He waited then demanded in a polite manner to see their passes. The acting began and there were no passes. He wouldn’t change a £20 note saying they should pop off the bus to the adjacent shop and buy an Oyster card. They weren’t moving, drinking their pop and adjusting their weaves. After a couple of minutes a guy paid their passage. We all got down in Walthamstow and I went into the express supermarket to check my community notice-board. The slags were already in there filling their bags with shop- lifted items. I alerted Mr Security who told me they’re habitual thieves.

At home I enjoyed “Customs UK”.

Claremont project film screening

In windy Angel it was all going on at the Claremont: Ballroom dancing, keep-fit and a film screening in a true pop-up cinema.


Some of Claremont Project’s dancing class women will be on the John Lewis floor in Westfield E20 on Monday to dance for our pleasure as part of Capital Age Festival 2013. This is a bookable treat through Capital Age Festival’s website.

Yes! Capital Age Festival 2013 has arrived with all sorts of entertainment and showing-off.

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Tom Doig

This evening was a lecture from Tom Doig about “Birth and Baptism in the 1800s”. I expected that a certain audience would come, Christian indigenous white Brits at that who would be ofey with things like “Churching” and “aglab” for agricultural labourers. I was correct. The event was excellent. Tom had great slides and great humour. 2013-06-26 20.37.08

The library staff at Hale End Library in Hale End Highams Park (W16 bus) are the most welcoming people I’ve met for ages. Mind you, the library is small enough to think you’re going into their house. It is dead quiet around the place and outside they have customer parking set in an old neglected garden left over from a previous big house.2013-06-26 20.41.34

‘Red Hot Pokers’  are just at the end of their glory.

Waltham Forest Libraries have many free events now and coming up in July. Bravo.

David Boote of Waltham Forest Walks came along to Lea Bridge Seniors and put it out that it is time to get the history of Leyton from the experience of Black and Asian residents past and present. Wouldn’t you just know it? Peter Ashan is on the case waiting for Lottery money in order to go ahead with a project following the history of Black and Asian Waltham Forest people from 1940-1990. I’m in, are you?   Details to follow.

Was so not impressed.

Today I went with a group for a tour of an old house in North London. Was so not impressed. The host was late and dressed badly in period costume. There were very little concrete historical facts because much was said as “We think that…” There were plenty of pristine recently decorated empty rooms to see. Yawn.

Wasn’t even worth photographing.

Went to find an arts organisation a few miles away. Still waiting for the welcome smile. I am sick of going to places with messy offices chucked full of messy interns. First impressions everybody!

Great day in Islington and Hackney

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Off the 56 bus at The Angel Islington, into a sea of white people and into The Claremont to check out submissions for The Claremont Project’s forthcoming art exhibition and to grab my seat for the Tap-dancing show. Fabulous Stella with equally fabulous senior women were doing their thing which in this case was showing their skills having learnt  since January 2013 to tap-dance or to improve their techniques. They thrilled a small audience. Cameras clicked and video-phones silently recorded the treat.

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Move over Beyoncé!

I collected the “Strawberry Tea” tickets for Culpeper Gardens on 2nd July from Claremont office. One hundred pensioners are expected by host, The Stuart Low Trust,  on Tuesday and a appeal has gone out for scone-bakers to bring forth their goodies. Thought Stuart Low Trust was in cohorts with Sainsbury’s. My home-made quiche  for lunch today was to die for. Enough of me.

Left elated and took the bus back to cut through Navarino Mansions and into London Fields. Babies were everywhere. The paddling pool was freezing cold: The toddlers said it! Grannies were out and about with their grandchildren and granddads led dogs of all shapes and sizes. The Lido was packed in the lunch hour.

Ended the afternoon in Vinegar Alley E17 with rumours about ladies of the night. More Googling to do.

On email, Yasmin from NANAs told me about craft afternoons in Chatsworth Road E5 on Tuesdays. Good. Checking the fee.


Today in the Community Room, Lea Bridge Library was held the last of six planned sessions for seniors brought together by Up Your Street networking. The finale was indeed wonderful as predicted because we had our very own Waltham Forest medicinal herbalist from her enterprise Hedge Herbs, Rasheeqa Ahmad.

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Her entry was magnificent as she sauntered in carrying boxes and jars behind her intern, Sara. Two beautiful women lit up the room and we in the greedy audience were ready to learn about her magic or the benefits of herbs. The kettle was boiled and the cups washed because we knew we’d be getting an infusion after the talk. Have you ever smelt Meadowsweet along country verges?  It is just gorgeous but short-lived. The dried stuff smells like dried stuff then looks like embroidery.

We sniffed, we smelt, we oohed, we questioned. We learnt about nettles and dandelions, tumeric , alfa alfa  (and I thought of “Of Mice And Men”), drank Hawthorn tea with mint, I think,  then listened as women in hijabs pleaded for help with their digestive systems or bruised elbows. Norman talked of Hops.


Rasheeqa’s visit was a resounding success as everyone was involved. The community had been engaged, been “pleasured” as the current insurance advert robot says.

Yasmin from NANAs kindly dropped by dragging in one other on her heels, an uninvited drunk, a drop-in, a cuckoo in the nest. She was great too, drumming up interest in voluntary work and something special at The Rose Lipman Building in Haggerston. “Where’s that?” said the Leytonites and the man from Hackney Wick.

Marcella’s Toblerone bar was scoffed. Penguins took away the herbal taste. The raffle prizes included Tesco slatted spoons (It was a job lot!), jewellery from bead-making class, dvds, nail varnish… and nothing second-hand here.

It was fun. Jolly good company. We’re done.

An hour later someone special emailed to tell me about a local project asking if any seniors might be interested. Hold them back!

Up Your Street’s Bonus list featuring Stuart Low Trust and The Claremont Project in Islington

  Up Your Street finding free activities for seniors around
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.                  
Tues 25th June free 11-noon Tap dancing performance at the  Claremont Project in The Angel Islington. (Become a member).
Thurs 27th June free 2.30-4.30pm. Film “Life In A Day” (94 mins)at Claremont.(Members only. Join up).The film made in 2011 is a documentary based on You Tube clips.
Tues 2nd July free Join Stuart Low Trust and go on a free trip to The Ragged School Museum. Meet 11 am Angel underground station entrance. Lunch generously given freely. Book in advance.
                     free 11-2pm With Claremont, visiting new exhibition at The Estorick Gallery in posh Islington. Book in advance.02078373402
                      free 3-5pm Strawberry tea in Culpeper Gardens by The Angel Islington. Ask Claremont to reserve you a place.
Fri 28th June free 6.30-9pm. Stuart Low Trust  at St Mary’s Community Centre in Upper Street. Free supper too. Islington “Buildings Exploratory for seniors'”  speaker to talk about Clerkenwell.
Fri 5th July free        2-3pm Claremont, White Lion Street for members (join up anyway: it’s free) Flamenco dancing and music.
Wed 10th July free  2.30pm “Life of Pi” at Rio Cinema, Dalston. Free cake and tea too. Long film.
Sat 13th July free 10am film screening at the Tate Modern “Art Is…”. Book your place at Tokarska Gallery in Forest Road E17.
Sat 20th July  Free? Creative writing at The Mill E17.
Senior VOLUNTEERS needed.
1) The Kids Kitchen in the Hornbeam Centre e17 can train you on 18th July for free to run a kids kitchen. Ask at The Hornbeam.
2) Women seniors needed to assist at NANA’s in Chatsworth Road.E5.

Up Your Street issue 26

Mon 24th June free noon-2pm. Up Your Street hosts “Lea Bridge Seniors” at Lea Bridge Library E107PH.  Rasheeqa  of HedgeHerbs  guests.

                               £3 for Silver Screen members (£6 otherwise. Join on the spot! Membership is free.) Noon. Hackney PictureHouse “The Pink Panther”.

                               free noon-2pm Wood Street Library Forest Road, E17 “Learn to use charcoal to draw”.

                              free beginning today at KPMG building 15 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, exhibition of art works from Rosetta Art Centre, Stratford E15 until 30th August 2013. Gillian Lawrence has an oil painting on view from the foyer bridge! There is no public access to the actual ‘gallery’ site…. yet.

Thurs 27th June £3 7pm “Beasts Of the Southern Wild” (93 mins) screening by Haringey Independent Cinema at West Green Learning Centre, Philip Lane N17.

Fri 28th June free 7pm Leyton Gallery artists meeting at William IVth Pub opp. Tesco E10 to discuss future plans. All welcome.

Sat 29th June free  2pm Hoxton Hall Shoreditch  Launch of “Audio History Tour of Shoreditch”. Other festivities and no need to book.

Sun 30th June free but bring some shares 11.15-1.30pm Community Breakfast at The Mill E17

                           free noon-4pm Vestry House Museum E17 Annual Garden Party incl. Hedge Herbs & Wholistic Apothecary Stall .

Mon 1st July  £3 members of Silver Screen. Noon. Hackney PictureHouse noon. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.


Wed 3rd July free 6-7.30pm . Written work reading and poetry-sharing at The Centre for  Better Health 1a Darnley Rd E5. Tea money required.

                           free noon Art Café at Whitechapel Art Gallery  E1 (and on 24th July at 2pm) to learn about the free art course for seniors at Birkbeck University in Stratford E15. book through Eventbrite. Great venues, great course.

Thurs 4th July free 10am “Soft” textiles and materials exhibition at the Mill E17. RAGWORKS  is on display.

Sat 6th July free Fete at St John at Hackney by Narrow Way Hackney

Down Lea Bridge Road, towards B&Q.

I wrote about my disgust about Staffa Road. I talked to some residents of Overton Road who have lived in what was the Burwell Residential Estate for years and years. All said that if they put so much as a sweet wrapper out their front they’d be prosecuted. The recklessly abandoned white goods are an eyesore and those long-term residents feel powerless to improve their neighbourhoods.

Councillor Ebony Vincent is on the case of the abandoned fridges and other heavies. argall aveShe saw my Facebook status update and responded straightaway..

We cannot give up caring about our neighbourhoods. Our children grow up in them. One lady I know nagged and nagged her council until she got the huge mammoth bins moved from the Peabody Estate Buildings front doors. Imagine you’re a child coming home from bright primary school to see on your doorstep pee-ed on overflowing bins of plastic wrapped faeces and tins. Not all London Councils have imposed recycling sorting. The child would think that’s normal. It isn’t normal in England.

That same active woman, only thirty years young,  got the prostitutes moved on too. They’d have sex in the communal hallway amidst the waft of curried goat and Febreze coming out of family homes. Not on. I salute that community right-minded resident.

The Mill in Coppermill Lane E17  was busy yesterday with the front door continually opening with cyclists popping in, artists submitting their work for the forthcoming “Soft” exhibition, grandmothers and younger women arriving to knit, and Polish speaking babies going out in strollers having banged away on crèche drums. The Mill moves its neighbourhood down in St James Lane and by Blackhorse Road (W12 and W15 buses).

A few months ago, it decided to move in on Lea Bridge Road Library and agitate the surrounding neighbours into community mindedness. Good luck there. It’s difficult to feel a community in that part of Leyton because it is such a place where nothing except the poverty and dirt stay the same. Comings and goings. Who knew the library there only opened three out of five days in the week? What else besides the library  is there to feed the soul down that part of Lea Bridge Road ? The population is poor. Businesses fall after a week of optimism. There is a pub, not much interest to the Moslem mums and dads: The Bingo Hall just gave up. The lights on the Mosque in the winter months are lovely. A bit more westwards there’s The WaterWorks Nature Reserve if you’ve time on your hands to walk forever and have the energy to lift yourself from the lethargy of being unemployed. Dismal.

If Lea Bridge people wanted that library to be a hub they could have got it done. The past movers and shakers of E107PH  watched their kids get settled,  saw the neighbourhood change colour, and moved away or inwards. B&Q became the choice of venue for families during Bank Holidays. Banks and post offices closed and men sniffed out Paddy Power and his brothers. Restricted hours were imposed on the library and no-one blinked.

I once worked with a woman who moved into an area “to show the local people how to live properly”. Imagine!